1931-1940

Richard Thorpe – The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1939)

Plot: Huckleberry Finn, a rambunctious boy adventurer chafing under the bonds of civilization, escapes his humdrum world and his selfish, plotting father by sailing a raft down the Mississippi River. Accompanying him is Jim, a slave running away from being sold. Together the two strike a bond of friendship that takes them through harrowing events and thrilling adventures. Written by Jim Beaver Read More »

Joe May – Music in the Air (1934)

Synopsis:
Constantly quarreling couple decide to try the jealousy angle when a naive young couple comes along.

Review:
The screen edition of the Kern-Hammerstein musical play is a skillfully photographed work which includes among its ballads, songs and snatches some of the most distinguished melodies of this cinema season. From the Music Hall’s screen and also the throats of John Boles and Gloria Swanson, “Music in the Air” sends out in a high-hearted cavalcade all the gay, tender and superbly romantic lyrics which warmed the flinty heart of Broadway back in the Winter of ’32. Read More »

Marcel Pagnol – La Femme du boulanger AKA The Baker’s Wife (1938)

Synopsis:
In this little Provencal village, a new baker, Aimable, settles down. His wife Aurelie is beautiful and much younger than he. She departs with a shepherd the night after Aimable produces his first breads. Aimable is so afflicted that he can not work anymore. Therefore, the villagers, who initially laughed at his cuckoldry, take the matter very seriously (they want the bread) and organize a plan to find Aurelie and to bring her back to the bakery Read More »

Sacha Guitry – Le mot de Cambronne AKA The Word of Cambronne (1937)

Ms. Cambronne, of British origin, to whom much has been said the “word” of her husband, the press questions in order to know the meaning. But the general refused any explanation and continues to be silent. Finally, Adele, a pretty maid, will build Ms. Cambronne uttering the famous words in a moment of awkwardness. Read More »

René Clément – Soigne ton gauche AKA Watch Your Left (1936)

A boxer is out in the country with his entourage, training for his next fight. Meanwhile, on the farm nearby, Roger is neglecting his chores. As he watches the boxer and his sparring partners at work, Roger starts to fantasize about being a boxer himself. Then, when none of the boxer’s sparring partners can continue, he is asked to fill in, although he doesn’t know anything about how to box. Read More »

Jacques Berr – Gai dimanche! AKA Fun Sunday! (1935)

Gai Dimanche is a 1935 three reel film written by and starring Jacques Tati and his friend Rhum. The pair star as down-and-outs (very much their situation in reality at the time) who try to generate funds by providing an impromptu leisure tour in a rickety bus they wangle use of for free. Released in 1935 and rarely seen today, the film offers brief glimpses and hints towards methods Tati would begin to perfect on the big screen a decade later. Read More »

Henri Decoin – Retour à l’aube aka She returned at dawn (1938)

Retour à l’aube is like Russian (or should we say Hungarian) dolls dreaming of each other : when the dream seems a dead-end or a nightmare, a new one begins in another tone. Danielle Darrieux being the unforgettable doll and key leading to the following dream, following film : drama, comedy, romance, musical, crime, oniric tale, etc… a perfect rainbow directed by Decoin. A film that could be compared to Pierrot le Fou for this rare quality of going through genres and tones as lightly as the air, which I tend more and more to attribute to people having penetrated the secret of cinematic life… or is it just love ? Maybe Read More »